Dodgers host Wilde Invite

After six matches, Fort Dodge head volleyball coach Tonia Burrell was especially happy to see the Dodgers finish the Jackie Wilde Invitational with a win.

Fort Dodge capped off the five-team tournament with a straight-set victory over Des Moines Christian to place third overall, avenging a pool play loss. In the championship match, No. 8 (Class 4A) Lewis Central topped Pocahontas Area, 21-16, 21-12.

Burrell, who saw her team go 1-3 during pool play, admitted there were just as many good moments as bad on the day, but the finish was what she wanted to focus on.

“It was exactly what we needed,” she said. “It’s not like we didn’t play well all day, we just did it in spurts. And we couldn’t seem to get everyone going at the same time. Still, after all was said and done, finishing by placing third and getting a win was big for these girls.

“It was good for their confidence. It was good for their motivation moving forward. It was good all around.”

The Dodgers (7-12 overall) avenged a regular season loss in pool play, besting Ames, 14-21, 21-18 and 15-13. Earlier this month, the Little Cyclones (4-9) claimed a four-set win over FDSH.

Fort Dodge dropped matches to Des Moines Christian (13-21, 21-15, 15-13), Lewis Central (21-11, 21-17) and Pocahontas Area (21-14, 21-12). They were also swept by the Indians (13-3) in the championship semifinal, 21-11, 21-12.

“We just couldn’t stop from committing unforced errors,” Burrell said. “That was what hurt us all day long. We’d string together some good rallies and then we’d hit a wall and just make careless mistakes.

“This team is full of potential. Us coaches see, but I don’t think the players see it. We just have to find a way to get them to believe in their abilities.”

Beth Murman led the Dodgers with 31 kills and 41 digs, while Kacee Gollob added 27 kills and 10 blocks. Josie Shirbroun recorded 58 assists and Kaden Pederson was 37-for-38 serving.

In the second meeting with the Lions, Gollob had six kills and five of her blocks, including four kills in the opening set and three blocks in the second. Murman tallied four kills and a pair of blocks in the win.

After falling behind early, Fort Dodge reeled off 11 of the final 18 points to take the first. They closed the match even stronger, scoring eight of the final nine.

“That was so good to see us do,” Burrell said. “It can be tough on any team to try and come back and play a team that beat you earlier. But the girls felt like they let one slip away (in the first meeting) and they really played with a lot of emotion and energy (in the second).”

Pocahontas Area earned a win over Lewis Central in pool play, 21-13, 22-24, 15-12, but were bested for the overall title, 21-16, 21-12. They did not lose a match in pool play.

Next action for the Dodgers is at West Des Moines Dowling on Tuesday. They return home on Sept. 27 to host CIC Iowa rival Mason City.